Overexpression of survival motor neuron improves neuromuscular function and motor neuron survival in mutant SOD1 mice.
ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy results from diminished levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein in spinal motor neurons. Low levels of SMN also occur in models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and genetic reduction of SMN levels exacerbates the phenotype of transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice. Here, we demonstrate that SMN protein is significantly reduced in the spinal cords of patients with sporadic ALS. To test the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS, we overexpressed SMN in 2 different strains of SOD1(G93A) mice. Neuronal overexpression of SMN significantly preserved locomotor function, rescued motor neurons, and attenuated astrogliosis in spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) mice. Despite this, survival was not prolonged, most likely resulting from SMN mislocalization and depletion of gems in motor neurons of symptomatic mice. Our results reveal that SMN upregulation slows locomotor deficit onset and motor neuron loss in this mouse model of ALS. However, disruption of SMN nuclear complexes by high levels of mutant SOD1, even in the presence of SMN overexpression, might limit its survival promoting effects in this specific mouse model. Studies in emerging mouse models of ALS are therefore warranted to further explore the potential of SMN as a modifier of ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal adult-onset neurodegenerative disease that causes degeneration of motor neurons and paralysis. Approximately 20% of familial ALS cases have been linked to mutations in the copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene, but it is unclear how mutations in the protein result in motor neuron degeneration. Transgenic (tg) mice expressing mutated forms of human SOD1 (hSOD1) develop clinical and pathological features similar to those of ALS. We used tg mice expressing hSOD1-G93A, hSOD1-G37R, and hSOD1-wild-type to investigate a new subcellular pathology involving mutant hSOD1 protein prominently localizing to the nuclear compartment and disruption of the architecture of nuclear gems. We developed methods for extracting relatively pure cell nucleus fractions from mouse CNS tissues and demonstrate a low nuclear presence of endogenous SOD1 in mouse brain and spinal cord, but prominent nuclear accumulation of hSOD1-G93A, -G37R, and -wild-type in tg mice. The hSOD1 concentrated in the nuclei of spinal cord cells, particularly motor neurons, at a young age. The survival motor neuron protein (SMN) complex is disrupted in motor neuron nuclei before disease onset in hSOD1-G93A and -G37R mice; age-matched hSOD1-wild-type mice did not show SMN disruption despite a nuclear presence. Our data suggest new mechanisms involving hSOD1 accumulation in the cell nucleus and mutant hSOD1-specific perturbations in SMN localization with disruption of the nuclear SMN complex in ALS mice and suggest an overlap of pathogenic mechanisms with spinal muscular atrophy.
Project description:Cellular abnormalities in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are not limited to motor neurons. Astrocyte dysfunction also occurs in human ALS and transgenic rodents expressing mutant human SOD1 protein (SOD1(G93A)). Here we investigated focal enrichment of normal astrocytes using transplantation of lineage-restricted astrocyte precursors, called glial-restricted precursors (GRPs). We transplanted GRPs around cervical spinal cord respiratory motor neuron pools, the principal cells whose dysfunction precipitates death in ALS. GRPs survived in diseased tissue, differentiated efficiently into astrocytes and reduced microgliosis in the cervical spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) rats. GRPs also extended survival and disease duration, attenuated motor neuron loss and slowed declines in forelimb motor and respiratory physiological functions. Neuroprotection was mediated in part by the primary astrocyte glutamate transporter GLT1. These findings indicate the feasibility and efficacy of transplantation-based astrocyte replacement and show that targeted multisegmental cell delivery to the cervical spinal cord is a promising therapeutic strategy for slowing focal motor neuron loss associated with ALS.
Project description:AIMS:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease whose mechanism is not understood. Recently, it was reported that apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) was involved in motor neuronal cell death in ALS model mice, and AIF-induced neuronal cell death by interacting with cyclophilin A (CypA). However, it is unknown whether the CypA and AIF-complex induces chromatinolysis in ALS. Therefore, in the present study, we investigated the process of motor neuron degeneration as the disease progresses and to determine whether the CypA-AIF complex would play a role in inducing motor neuronal cell death in mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)(G93A) ALS model mice. METHODOLOGY:We prepared the nuclear fractions of spinal cords and demonstrated the nuclear translocation of CypA with AIF in SOD1(G93A) mice by immunoprecipitation. The localization of CypA and AIF in the spinal cords was assessed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS:In the spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) mice, the expressions of CypA and AIF were detected in the motor neurons, and CypA and AIF cotranslocated to the motor neuronal nuclei with CypA. Furthermore, the expression of CypA was detected in GFAP-positive astrocytes, but not in CD11b-positive microglial cells. On the other hand, these findings were not detected in the spinal cords of wild-type mice. CONCLUSIONS:From these results, we suggest that CypA and AIF may play cooperative and pivotal roles in motor neuronal death in the murine ALS model.
Project description:Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is an adult-onset, progressive, motor neuron degenerative disease, in which the role of inflammation is not well established. Innate and adaptive immunity were investigated in the CNS of the Superoxide Dismutase 1 (SOD1)(G93A) transgenic mouse model of ALS. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells infiltrated SOD1(G93A) spinal cords during disease progression. Cell-specific flow cytometry and gene expression profiling showed significant phenotypic changes in microglia, including dendritic cell receptor acquisition, and expression of genes linked to neuroprotection, cholesterol metabolism and tissue remodeling. Microglia dramatically up-regulated IGF-1 and down-regulated IL-6 expression. When mutant SOD1 mice were bred onto a TCRbeta deficient background, disease progression was significantly accelerated at the symptomatic stage. In addition, microglia reactivity and IGF-1 levels were reduced in spinal cords of SOD1(G93A) (TCRbeta-/-) mice. These results indicate that T cells play an endogenous neuroprotective role in ALS by modulating a beneficial inflammatory response to neuronal injury.
Project description:Adipose stromal cells (ASC) secrete various trophic factors that assist in the protection of neurons in a variety of neuronal death models. In this study, we tested the effects of human ASC conditional medium (ASC-CM) in human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) transgenic mouse model expressing mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1(G93A)). Treating symptomatic SOD1(G93A) mice with ASC-CM significantly increased post-onset survival time and lifespan. Moreover, SOD1(G93A) mice given ASC-CM treatment showed high motor neuron counts, less activation of microglia and astrocytes at an early symptomatic stage in the spinal cords under immunohistochemical analysis. SOD1(G93A) mice treated with ASC-CM for 7 days showed reduced levels of phosphorylated p38 (pp38) in the spinal cord, a mitogen-activated protein kinase that is involved in both inflammation and neuronal death. Additionally, the levels of α-II spectrin in spinal cords were also inhibited in SOD1(G93A) mice treated with ASC-CM for 3 days. Interestingly, nerve growth factor (NGF), a neurotrophic factor found in ASC-CM, played a significant role in the protection of neurodegeneration inSOD1(G93A) mouse. These results indicate that ASC-CM has the potential to develop into a novel and effective therapeutic treatment for ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neurons. Despite substantial research, the causes of ALS remain unclear. Glycoprotein nonmetastatic melanoma protein B (GPNMB) was identified as an ALS-related factor using DNA microarray analysis with mutant superoxide dismutase (SOD1(G93A)) mice. GPNMB was greatly induced in the spinal cords of ALS patients and a mouse model as the disease progressed. It was especially expressed in motor neurons and astrocytes. In an NSC34 cell line, glycosylation of GPNMB was inhibited by interaction with SOD1(G93A), increasing motor neuron vulnerability, whereas extracellular fragments of GPNMB secreted from activated astrocytes attenuated the neurotoxicity of SOD1(G93A) in neural cells. Furthermore, GPNMB expression was substantial in the sera of sporadic ALS patients than that of other diseased patients. This study suggests that GPNMB can be a target for therapeutic intervention for suppressing motor neuron degeneration in ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons, axon degeneration, and denervation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ). Here we show that death receptor 6 (DR6) levels are elevated in spinal cords from post-mortem samples of human ALS and from SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, and DR6 promotes motor neuron death through activation of the caspase 3 signaling pathway. Blocking DR6 with antagonist antibody 5D10 promotes motor neuron survival in vitro via activation of Akt phosphorylation and inhibition of the caspase 3 signaling pathway, after growth factor withdrawal, sodium arsenite treatment or co-culture with SOD1(G93A) astrocytes. Treatment of SOD1(G93A) mice at an asymptomatic stage starting on the age of 42 days with 5D10 protects NMJ from denervation, decreases gliosis, increases survival of motor neurons and CC1(+) oligodendrocytes in spinal cord, decreases phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) levels in serum, and promotes motor functional improvement assessed by increased grip strength. The combined data provide clear evidence for neuroprotective effects of 5D10. Blocking DR6 function represents a new approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders involving motor neuron death and axon degeneration, such as ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease with unknown origins. Neurodegeneration in ALS mouse models occurs together with signs of disrupted blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) and regressed capillary network, but the molecular pathways contributing to these vascular pathologies remain unknown. We show that motor neurons of human sporadic ALS patients (n = 12) have increased gene expression of PDGFC and its activator PLAT and presymptomatic activation of the PDGF-CC pathway in SOD1 (G93A) mice leads to BSCB dysfunction. Decrease of Pdgfc expression in SOD1 (G93A) mice restored vascular barrier properties, reduced motor neuron loss and delayed symptom onset by up to 3 weeks. Similarly, lower expression levels of PDGFC or PLAT in motor neurons of sporadic ALS patients were correlated with older age at disease onset. PDGF-CC inhibition and restoration of BSCB integrity did not prevent capillary regression at disease end stage. Lower vessel density was found in spinal cords of sporadic ALS patients and the degree of regression in SOD1 (G93A) mice correlated with more aggressive progression after onset regardless of BSCB status. We conclude that PDGF-CC-induced BSCB dysfunction can contribute to timing of ALS onset, allow insight into disease origins and development of targeted novel therapies.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused by selective motor neuron degeneration. Abnormal protein aggregation and impaired protein degradation pathways may contribute to the disease pathogenesis. Although it has been reported that autophagy is altered in patients and animal model of ALS, little is known about the role of autophagy in motor neuron degeneration in this disease. Our previous study shows that rapamycin, an MTOR-dependent autophagic activator, accelerates disease progression in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS. In the present report, we have assessed the role of the MTOR-independent autophagic pathway in ALS by determining the effect of the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose on disease onset and progression, and on motor neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice. We have found that trehalose significantly delays disease onset prolongs life span, and reduces motor neuron loss in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) mice. Most importantly, we have documented that trehalose decreases SOD1 and SQSTM1/p62 aggregation, reduces ubiquitinated protein accumulation, and improves autophagic flux in the motor neurons of SOD1(G93A) mice. Moreover, we have demonstrated that trehalose can reduce skeletal muscle denervation, protect mitochondria, and inhibit the proapoptotic pathway in SOD1(G93A) mice. Collectively, our study indicated that the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose is neuroprotective in the ALS model and autophagosome-lysosome fusion is a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of ALS.
Project description:Humans with ALS and transgenic rodents expressing ALS-associated superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutations develop spontaneous blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) breakdown, causing microvascular spinal-cord lesions. The role of BSCB breakdown in ALS disease pathogenesis in humans and mice remains, however, unclear, although chronic blood-brain barrier opening has been shown to facilitate accumulation of toxic blood-derived products in the central nervous system, resulting in secondary neurodegenerative changes. By repairing the BSCB and/or removing the BSCB-derived injurious stimuli, we now identify that accumulation of blood-derived neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron in the spinal cord leads to early motor-neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice at least in part through iron-dependent oxidant stress. Using spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions, motor-neuron dysfunction and injury were found to be proportional to the degree of BSCB disruption at early disease stages in SOD1(G93A) mice. Early treatment with an activated protein C analog restored BSCB integrity that developed from spontaneous or warfarin-accelerated microvascular lesions in SOD1(G93A) mice and eliminated neurotoxic hemoglobin and iron deposits. Restoration of BSCB integrity delayed onset of motor-neuron impairment and degeneration. Early chelation of blood-derived iron and antioxidant treatment mitigated early motor-neuronal injury. Our data suggest that BSCB breakdown contributes to early motor-neuron degeneration in ALS mice and that restoring BSCB integrity during an early disease phase retards the disease process.